A third gender option will appear on birth certificates in Germany as of November, making this country the first in Europe to offer the third gender option for parents. This move is considered aggressive for a country whose stances on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. have been criticized as closed minded.
According to the Huffington Post on Aug. 22, this new German third gender law gives parents whose child is born of an indeterminate sex, or intersex, a third choice. Instead of categorizing their child male or female at birth, the third choice is to leave that section blank. This allows that child to eventually make their own decision to identify themselves as male, female or neither.
The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung noted that this "legal change has received little attention so far," since it was voted into law back in May. It is getting attention today as critics believe the third gender option doesn't go far enough.
The main concern is the nightmare of red tape that is bound to follow the individual when they try to travel abroad because their gender indemnification is left blank. For this reason a German family law journal suggests that the third gender option be noted with an "X" as the third gender identifier on a passport.
How common is intersex? This is a tough question to answer claims the Intersex Society of North America, who suggests;
"To answer this question in an uncontroversial way, you’d have to first get everyone to agree on what counts as intersex —and also to agree on what should count as strictly male or strictly female."
The criteria would need to be set in extreme detail taking all types of factors into consideration starting with appearance, such as "how small does a penis have to be before it counts as intersex?" Then you would need to consider “sex chromosome anomalies as intersex if there’s no apparent external sexual ambiguity?"
The Intersex Society said that they do know:
If you ask experts at medical centers how often a child is born so noticeably atypical in terms of genitalia that a specialist in sex differentiation is called in, the number comes out to about 1 in 1500 to 1 in 2000 births."
The number would change if the more subtler forms of sex anatomy variations were taken into consideration. Some of these variations don’t show up until later in life, so a precise number or even an estimate that would reflect ball park figures of intersex children born today is a tough number to calculate.